Ah, the trade deadline. Honestly, it’s a sports writer’s dream. Agents floating stories to drive up prices, disgruntled superstars, and drunk GM’s at happy hour spilling the beans (this has happened). Grab my hand and we’ll wade into the waters as the NHL trade deadline rapidly closes in to the February 29th conclusion. Let’s look at the players most likely to find a new home.
You don’t often see players with a “C” on their chest moved, but that could happen if the disappointing Jets decide to trade their captain. Ladd has followed up a career 2014-15 campaign with a lackluster season. At press time, he’s notched 13 goals and 17 assists, with a 0.58 points per game. Winnipeg is thinking about unloading Ladd because he can walk as a free agent after this season and can still command some value in return.
Possible trade destinations: Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks
James van Riemsdyk
Continuing the 20 year rebuild, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in full fire sale mode.
They’ve already dumped Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa in a chunky nine-player swap. van Riemsdyk is probably next, and could be the most desirable and expensive commodity on the market.
He’s only 26-years-old and on pace for his third straight 50 point season. Perhaps most valuable from a front office perspective is that the left winger is under contract through the 2017-2018 season at a reasonable $5 million per year. Toronto’s phone is undoubtedly ringing off the hook with offers so expect van Riemsdyk to be moved before the deadline. And because he’s not a one year rental, many teams are probably trying to put together a deal for his services.
Possible trade destinations: Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers.
This is the one that has puckheads intrigued. The former No. 3 overall pick from the 2013 draft has demanded a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning after two years of professional hockey. And it’s not like he’s been tearing up the league. In his first season of limited duty Drouin posted 4 goals and 28 assists. Not bad. Not world-beating either. This season, there have been grumblings about his attitude, demotions, then the trade demand. He’s still considered a top prospect and he’s only 20, but the once can’t miss player has suddenly become a risky proposition. We all know NHL GM’s won’t be able to stay away from giving this guy second, third and fourth chances to be star. But who is willing to part with the king’s ransom it will take to get him out of Tampa Bay?
Fresh off that fat nine player deal, multiple sources are reporting the Ottawa Senators are the frontrunners to bring Drouin back home to Canada.
Possible trade destinations: Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche